Junk-Food Taxes example

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Junk-Food Taxes

The problem of obesity has become a leading one in the healthcare of the Unites States (Bonnet, 2013). In most cases, obesity is caused by increased consumption of calories-rich food and beverages, so called junk food. As healthy diet governmental promotions has not achieved the desired effect of decreasing the obesity level in the country, the government has devised a new way of overcoming this issue - junk-food taxes (Bonnet, 2013). Junk-food taxes is a good mechanism of lowering calories-rich food consumption; however, it also has several drawbacks worth consideration.

Junk-food taxes can really be effective in improving eating habits of the Americans. Recent studies has shown that soft drinks taxation has positive effects on lowering the levels of consumption in children and adolescents (Bonnet, 2013). These results may imply that imposing similar taxes, for example, on French fries or doughnuts will reduce the consumption of these products as well. Moreover, such statistics may stimulate food producers to lower or even substitute the unhealthy components in their products (Bonnet, 2013). Then, these products will not be categorized as junk food, no more additional taxes will be imposed on them, and people will start buying them again. On the other hand, there always will be a category of people who will still continue buying junk food despite the higher prices. Consequently, they will have less money to spend on healthy food such as fruits and vegetables (Smed and Robertson, 2012), and this will inevitably aggravate their health condition. Moreover, lower socioeconomic groups, who are the leading consumers of junk food as they cannot afford to buy more expensive healthy food, will suffer greatly from the increased prices (Smed and Robertson, 2012). This will further increase the existing socioeconomic inequality and, surely, will not improve health condition of these people.

Junk-food taxes may be a good mechanism of regulating the consumption of calories-rich food. They can even stimulate the food producers to make their products more healthy in order to avoid price raising. However, the government should be very careful with implementing these taxes, as there is a considerable risk of even aggravating the existing situation with obesity. Furthermore, junk-food taxes may add to the existing socioeconomic inequality.


Bonnet, C. (2013). How to set up an effective food tax? Comment on “Food taxes: a new holy grail?” International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 1(3), 233-234. doi: 10.15171/ijhpm.2013.45.

Smed, S, & Robertson, A. (2012) Are taxes on fatty foods having their desired effects on health? BMJ, 345, e6885. …

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